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What is Facebook’s New Special Ad Category?

Facebook recently announced it is now requiring all U.S.-based housing, employment and credit advertisers to select the “Special Ad Category” option in Ads Manager when creating ads. But what exactly does this new information mean for marketers?

To put it simply, marketers running ads for these 3 categories can no longer target by age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity, or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics. This change comes from a new set of rules regarding Facebook’s non-discrimination policy, after working closely with the National Fair Housing Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union and the Communication Workers of America.

“Facebook cares deeply about civil rights and we want to make sure we’re advancing them on our platform. As part of a historic settlement with leading civil rights organizations in March we announced changes to help prevent discrimination in ads that offer housing, employment and credit opportunities,” explains Facebook in a press release.

While it may sound that this new policy has created tight limitations for targeting options, fortunately that is not really the case. Marketers can still target geographically - down to a 15-mile radius, they just can’t include or exclude certain zip codes. Of course, you can also still target by interest. For example, an ad for a new home listing can target people in your area that have recently been searching Zillow or Trulia for new homes or browsing the web for information on mortgage options.

Not sure if this change applies to you? Here is a breakdown of the different ad categories.

Credit Ad Category: This is for those who create ads for credit card offers, vehicle loans, long-term financing or other related opportunities.

Employment Ad Category: This is for those who create ads for job offers, internships, professional certification programs or other related opportunities.

Housing Ad Category: This is for those who create ads for property listings, home insurance, mortgages or other related opportunities.

All said, Facebook’s new “Special Ad Category” is a positive change for marketers – as it is important we do not accidently or unintentionally create ads that negatively discriminate against certain groups of people. As Facebook said –

“Discrimination has no place on Facebook, and our advertising policies have long prohibited unlawful discrimination. To help ensure compliance with that policy, all advertisers must certify and accept our non-discrimination policy, regardless of the type of ads they’re running.”